Microsoft is embracing biometric login with a new feature of Windows 10 that can recognize faces, fingerprints and irises for authentication it claims is more secure than passwords.
Windows Hello can be used to authenticate users but also applications, data and Websites without storing passwords on devices that support the feature.
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The company says facial and iris recognition require infrared cameras on Windows 10 devices in order to distinguish individuals even in varying lighting conditions. Microsoft says it is working with hardware makers to deliver such devices that incorporate Intel's RealSense 3D Camera F200, which supports Windows Hello. Microsoft says Windows Hello supports existing fingerprint readers.
The technology is enterprise grade, according to Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group in Blogging Windows. "It's a solution that government, defense, financial, health care and other related organizations will use to enhance their overall security," he writes.
Belfiore writes that Windows Hello will augment a separate Microsoft platform called Passport that can login users without transmitting passwords between devices. That means there are no passwords stored on servers that can be stolen. For Passport to work, developers have to use the programming system in setting up Web sites and applications, he writes. Windows Hello authentication will unlock Passport so users won't have to remember a pin to gain access.
Windows 10 is expected to be available sometime later this year.